Red Dragon

 Back in October I shot a beautiful blue headdress by Liv Free, and she's since brought out dozens of beautiful, intricate headdresses

I had a hankering for a glittery eyepatch (you know, as you do) which Liv also makes (I've yet to photograph it, but it's badass!), and she sent over another headdress to shoot as well.

The "Firebird" headdress features blood red materials, flowers and beads; it seemed quite vampiric to me, and the flowers made me think of vanitas paintings.

I've been quite into reds and purples recently, so I contoured my face with reds (Love + from Sugarpill and Love Sick by Melt Cosmetics) to pick up the colour. On my eyes I wanted an ethereal, glossy effect so I used the same colours as the contour as well as Bulletproof for the black and Lumi for the highlights, both from Sugarpill. I used a clear gloss over everything and added a touch of red glitter. On the lips is Shien Costmetics Cobra Lily and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Role Play (which was also the "blood"). 

I chose a white wig from Geisha Wigs to be a complete contrast to the headdress.



Tigz Rice, Sparklewren and Pearls & Swine

Back in late August, when it was still possible to be out in the London air without much on, I finally got around to shooting with Tigz Rice!

Well known for her beautiful portraits, particularly of performers and vintage-inspired fashion, it's crazy that we didn't join forces earlier, especially as we attended the same University, and work with so many of the same people. I very rarely model for other photographers unless I particularly like (and trust!) their work - I'm not a model, so I need to work with someone with the skills to make me look good ;)

I wanted to put together a special look that gave off a couture feel, using a colour palette that I don't often use. I've been a fan of the absolutely stunning corsets by Sparklewren for quite a while, and was so glad when she agreed to lend me one of her Mink corset-bodies! The lovely Bink at Pearls & Swine also leant me this beautiful Ship Headpiece.

The Mink corset reminded me of stone being struck by the sea; with the netting, lace and freshwater pearls, it made me think of a decadent mermaid. I took this idea through the outfit, with fringing, silver chains and pale blue hair. I used silver jewellery that featured a lot of charms and burnished metal to create a decrepit opulence. To make the cape seem more special I covered the shoulders and front with brooches and a beaded capelet.

For makeup I used silvers and blues for the eyes, leaving off eyebrows and using an unusual cut-crease to alter the shape of my eyes. I used dark purple/red lipstick with a touch of silver pigment in the center.













An exciting/scary thing about the shoot was that it was going to be filmed! David McClelland of Ginx TV got in touch with Tigz to see if we would be happy to be featured on Planet Of The Apps, a prime time TV series that focuses on modern technology and gadgets. They wanted to film the entire shoot through to post-production, but it wasn't very intrusive at all. 

I haven't seen the final show but apparently it aired internationally very recently, and we should be receiving the footage soon!

Onto the wonderful photos, thanks again to Tigz Rice!



A few weeks ago (I'm terrible at updating this blog, I know!) I did an impromptu shoot with my partner, Mark Charade. As I'd borrowed some pieces from Pearls and Swine for another shoot, I thought I'd get the most out of them and do a 1920's inspired look.

Not only did Mark photograph and retouch these gorgeous images, but he put together a beautiful experimental film - see below!

Anna Swiczeniuk - Pearlescence from Mark Charade on Vimeo.

Creations By Liv Free

Not only is Liv Free a beautiful model and wonderful makeup artist, but she also has a line of accessories, Creations by Liv Free. Making everything from masks and eyepatches to opulent headpieces and horns, Liv has created a stunning collection of everything I want! 

She had previously made me this stunning halo and I also have a horned headdress that I still need to get around to photographing. Liv's pieces are always extremely well-made; the Halo has been in and out of suitcases to multiple different countries and still survived!

Liv got in touch with me to see if I wanted to shoot her new 'Pavo Cristatus' headpiece, and I can't turn a kokoshnik down ;)

My first thoughts when I saw the headdress (apart from the obvious Peacock-inspired colours) were of traditional Indian art, in particular the South Indian Mysore paintings, which featured a lot of bright pigments and gold leaf. I also thought about Vladimir Tretchikoff's paintings, in particular his best known "Chinese Girl" painting.



I wanted to channel these bright colours into my self portraits, which also made me think of glorious Technicolor films of the 1940s and 50s (here's an example, note Carmen Miranda particularly!).

I had originally planned to paint my hands and arms blue rather than my face, but that was too impractical to shoot with, and I'd been wanting to do a blue face look ever since seeing B.Ames & Valentine Steaphon's amazing makeup! I wanted the eyes to pop in a contrasting colour that would be picked up by the lighting.



The entire makeup (except the lips) was done using Sugarpill Cosmetics, which are now being stocked at Playful Promises!

Face - Afterparty and Tako (not currently available)

Eyes - Love+, Buttercupcake, Flamepoint, Asylum and Hi-Viz

Lashes - Glitzy

Lips - Shien Cosmetics Cobra Lily with a dab of Hi-Viz pigment



I actually ended up going out with the same face, which turned into a rather Beetlejuice-ian look :D

1920s Style on the High Street: Skullcaps

Image on the right from Rubylane.com, left from Salonofthedames

It's no secret, I adore 1920s and 30s fashion. But, unfortunately, I'm far too poor to buy genuine vintage pieces. 

Elaborate clothing and accessories from the early 20th century are usually rather rare, and being kept in such good condition for almost 100 years means that they usually remain in the hands of collectors and dealers that really know their stuff! And quite rightly too, as they need a lot of TLC!

I also saw vintage prices skyrocket during the Gatsby trend, which appears to be only just dying out again. And that's all well and good, but what happens when you want to recreate a 20's style without spending £100s? 

As you can see above, I'm focusing on the fitted skullcap style headgear. Everyone else seems to think that flapper headpieces begins and ends with a piece of shiny fabric worn across the forehead and a feather. This is a decade of opulence, and I'm sorry to say, but that cheap costume-store head-band doesn't fit the bill. 

But you don't need to spend a great deal on more authentic pieces in order to pull together a fabulous flapper look. Just a bit of creativity!


1. Silver Hair Chain - River Island // 2. Hair Brooch - ASOS // 3. Black and Gold Earrings - New Look // 4. Deco Shaped Earrings - River Island for ASOS // 5. Black Crystal Headband - River Island 


A few of the high street/online chains have recreated some beautiful art deco inspired pieces (particularly River Island's last autumn collection, oh my) at a fraction of the cost. Some even sell pieces (like 1 and 5) that can be your starting block. Here's a few tips!

1. Make use of the shape of headbands and chains that cover the head like the skullcaps above, and add earrings (3 or 4) or brooches (2, and you can use normal brooches too) to add more decoration. 

2. The vintage pieces use dangling ornaments just above the ears to give a little extra dazzle - and who said earrings MUST go in your ears?

3. If you are feeling even more thrifty, use some fabric (something sheer or patterned would work well) as an extra detail underneath the headband/chain so it sits flat against your head. Hand sew to the edges of the headband and cut away the excess. 

4. Visit your local haberdashery and buy up some beaded trims, fabric flowers or motifs to add onto your new headpiece!